As your state senator I have built relationships around the state and practiced the type of principled and collaborative leadership I believe will benefit the residents of District 20. I have delivered for our community and I have been responsive to the needs of our district. I appreciate you visiting my website, and thank you for your interest in making our community a more inclusive and equitable place for all.
I appreciate you visiting my website, and thank you for your interest in making our community a more inclusive and equitable place for all.
Equity in Education
Keeping college affordable – I have fought alongside my Democratic colleagues to make college more affordable by freezing tuition and limiting tuition increases at Maryland’s public universities. As a result, tuition at Maryland’s public colleges went from being 7th most expensive in the nation to 26th least expensive. I have also been working with my colleagues to develop a plan to make community college more affordable and, in some cases, free.
Defending the Right to Vote
Access to the ballot box – Every voice in our society should be heard, and expanding access to the franchise should a priority for any thriving democracy. While in the legislature I helped lead the fight to re-enfranchise the more than 40,000 Marylanders with felony records on parole and probation regain their voting rights.
Environmental justice – Baltimore has the highest emissions-related mortality rate in the nation with 130 out of every 100,000 residents likely to die prematurely in a given year due to long-term exposure to air pollution, which disproportionately affects communities of color. Clean renewable energy, such as wind and solar, does not have these harmful emissions.
Equal Justice for all
Focusing on rehabilitation and deterrence – I worked tirelessly to pass the Justice Reinvestment Act of 2016, which changed the criminal justice system in Maryland by repealing minimum mandatory sentences for certain nonviolent drug crimes and focusing on treatment rather than incarceration for nonviolent offenders.
Common Sense Gun Legislation
No guns on college campuses – College campuses should be places in which the open and free exchange of ideas is encouraged. Our students deserve a learning environment free from the fear that a firearm may be present in a classroom, the campus quad, or the dorm room. As your state senator, I have led the fight to keep guns off of our college campuses.
Expanding Economic Opportunities
Affordable housing – Today thousands of Marylanders are denied housing because they have a housing voucher. 79% of voucher holders in Maryland are people of color and 43% are single mothers. I’ve been working on legislation to prohibit this practice and to give every Marylander an opportunity to live in safe, clean housing.
Protecting our immigrant communities
I’m working hard in Annapolis to ensure our immigrant communities are protected from invasive policing practices and are afforded equal access to educational, social, and economic opportunity.
William C. Smith Jr. was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. His parents were young adults during the height of the civil rights movement. It was their struggle and sacrifice that opened doors of opportunity for Will. His parents taught him the importance of a good education and showed him the benefit of living in a caring, engaged community. With the support of his family, Will became a first-generation college student when he attended and graduated from the College of William and Mary. He would go on to earn a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from William and Mary.
After college, Will enrolled in AmeriCorps where he worked as a community engagement leader for IMPACT Silver Spring and worked at the ACLU as a Legislative Assistant. During law school Will worked at a law firm handling employment discrimination cases and sought a commission as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, a position in which Will continues to serve in today.
In 2010 Will received a White House appointment to serve as a Director at the Department of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama.
In 2014 Will was elected to represent District 20 in the Maryland House of Delegates. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, Will served on the criminal justice and family law subcommittee. Along with these roles, Will was a member of several key workgroups including Justice Reinvestment, Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights and Death with Dignity.
In 2016 Will was appointed to represent District 20 in the Maryland State Senate, making him the first African-American Senator from Montgomery County. In the Senate, Will has worked to forge relationships with his colleagues from across the state and political spectrum which has allowed him to become an effective legislator in Annapolis.
As a member of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, Will has championed robust criminal justice reform measures and has led efforts to provide economic and educational opportunities for all Marylanders. Will also serves as the Chair of the Senate Veteran’s Caucus.
Today, Will continues to practice law as a civil rights attorney and lives in Silver Spring with his wife, Camille, and dog, Monty.
By Senator William C. Smith, Jr. The Baltimore Sun Education, specifically higher education, is directly correlated to innumerable economic and social benefits: higher salaries, a more versatile and qualified workforce, healthier lifestyles and greater economic mobility to name a few. Access to higher education, however, has become more fleeting, especially for the poor. In 1971, Read more about Endowments: a path toward tuition-free college in Maryland[…]
Endowing Our Future from William C. Smith, Jr., Esq.
Senator William C. Smith, Jr. The Washington Post In Maryland, the majority of severely rent-burdened people are single mothers and overwhelmingly people of color. According to data from the American Community Survey analyzed by Enterprise Community Partners, almost 32 percent of the state’s renters are severely housing-cost-burdened, meaning they pay more than 50 percent of their income on Read more about Discriminatory housing practices are alive and well in Maryland[…]
Today we celebrate all of the women and men who labored throughout the decades to provide our generation with the many opportunities we have today. As your state Senator I have endeavored to that very same thing – to provide more Marylanders with more opportunity. And while it seems as though the Trump Administration in Read more about End of Summer Update[…]
By William C. Smith, Jr. Download the Letter Dear Friend: It is such an honor to represent you in the Maryland State Senate. I grew up in Silver Spring and take great pride in serving the community that has given so much to me over the years. My first legislative session as your State Senator Read more about End of Session Letter[…]
By Carrie Snurr Capital News Service About 100 people rallied on Tuesday, with the support of Maryland legislators, against a Senate bill they said would walk back a ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals regarding bail reform. The bill, which passed in the state Senate and is under consideration in the House of Delegates, Read more about Groups rally in Annapolis against Maryland Senate pretrial release bill[…]
By Nick Iannelli WTOP WASHINGTON — Legislation that would limit how often young students in Maryland are suspended and expelled from school advanced through the state Senate Wednesday, and now it appears it will likely pass through the General Assembly. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 32 to 15 — a veto-proof Read more about Bill to limit discipline for young Md. students passes Senate[…]
By Josh Hicks The Washington Post Maryland’s House of Delegates on Monday passed legislation that would strictly limit the ability of local police to cooperate with federal immigration agents and bar pharmaceutical companies from drastically raising prices for essential drugs. The Democratic-controlled House also passed measures that prohibit housing discrimination against individuals who use public Read more about Md. legislature takes action on key bills before ‘crossover’ deadline[…]
By Michael Dresser The Baltimore Sun The Maryland Senate passed legislation Friday that would make carrying an open container of an alcoholic beverage a civil offense rather than a misdemeanor. Under the legislation, which was approved 43-3, police would issue a citation rather than make an arrest in most cases. The bill will go to Read more about Maryland Senate votes to make open alcohol container violations a civil offense[…]